Friday, May 16, 2008

Style and Focus News Bites

** Can Nintendo’s new, Wii Fit transform the home-fitness market? Scheduled to be released in North America sometime next week, Wii Fit is not meant to replace going to the gym but as an additional fitness option. But in a world of $3,000 elliptical machines and $150-an-hour personal trainers, it has at least a chance of becoming a global, affordable, mass-market interactive home-fitness system. (On its overseas debut last month, it became one of the fastest-selling games ever in Britain.)

The system costs $90 (plus an additional $250 for the basic Wii console, if you don't already have the unit). It uses a television and a sensitive “balance board” placed on the floor to present a few dozen activities, from push-ups to yoga, to more entertaining challenges like balance games and aerobic contests. Nintendo is not aiming Wii Fit at people with a serious exercise regimen. Rather, it is meant to appeal to the person busy with work and family who just wants to have fun getting a little toned at home. (New York Times)

** Supermodel Alek Wek and fashion designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka of Badgley Mischka were honored by the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) at the 30th Annual American Image Awards this Wednesday evening, May 14 in New York. Wek received the "Spirit of a Woman" award for her work as a model and humanitarian, and Badgley and Mischka were named "Designer of the Year." (Fashion Wire Daily)

** Two of Britain’s leading independent schools are planning on boycotting this summer’s exam league tables, claiming they do not give a true picture of academic achievement. St Paul’s School for boys in Barnes, South West London, and Eton, in Windsor, confirmed that they will refuse to submit their GCSE and A level results to the Independent Schools Council for publication in August. They will join Winchester College, which took the same step last year.

Martin Stephen, High Master of St Paul’s said that the league tables kill good teaching and damage education, as they encouraged schools to teach to the test and in some instances to enter pupils for soft qualifications, rather than for more difficult traditional subjects. (London Times)

** Chanel Goes Interactive at Bergdorf Goodman. The upscale retailer and Chanel Fragrance and Beauté have teamed up to launch an interactive beauty area, the first of its kind in the U.S. (WWD)

** The Gap and the Whitney Museum of American Art introduces Limited Edition Artist colletion T-shirts. The shirts are designed by 13 contemporary artists, including Chuck Close, Jeff Koons, Marilyn Minter, Kiki Smith, Cai Guo-Qiang, Barbara Kruger, Ashley Bickerton, Kenny Scharf, Glenn Ligon, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Kerry James Marshall, Hanna Liden and Sarah Sze. The shirts range in price from $28 to $38.

The limited edition collection is available exclusively at select Gap stores in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and franchise markets, as well as online in the U.S. at They're also available at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and at Colette, a Paris-based boutique. (Press Release)

** Mary J. Blige and Marketing guru Steve Stoute recently announced their new charity initiative, FFAWN: The Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation For the Advancement of Women Now, Inc.

FFAWN was originally created in 2007 by the two in order to use Mrs. Blige's personal story and success to inspire women from all walks of life to reach their individual potential. Blige said she hopes to help these women overcome the difficulties they face in their lives and to provide them with the drive and confidence to pursue and realize their goals and dreams. Through scholarships, grants, and programs that foster strong self-esteem, career development, and personal growth, FFAWN is intended to help women gain the confidence and skills they need to achieve success. (Press Release)

** Hills Finale Tops Ratings Among Young Viewers. Monday night's season finale of MTV's The Hills was watched by 2.94 million viewers between the ages of 12 and 34 and 3.77 total viewers. The ratings made The Hills finale the most watched show in its time period among 12-34-year-olds across both cable and broadcast networks. (Us magazine)

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